At the time of writing, there are fewer than ten working days left until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. No one knows what is going to happen, and no outcome has been adequately prepared for. Living in a constant state of uncertainty is not good for the mind, or for the financial situation of a nation.
Last week, the UK Parliament voted against leaving the EU without a deal, and in favour of an extension. But all this is meaningless without action. Unless the Article 50 notification is revoked or an extension is requested and agreed with the unanimous consent of the European Council, the UK is leaving next Friday.
But no extension has yet been requested.
Unfortunately, Parliament also voted against giving itself the power to take control of the legislative process, so it’s all up to Theresa May, surely the most irresponsible time-waster ever to run a country.
In any case, there’s not enough time left to pass the legislation required to leave in an orderly fashion on 29 March even if the Withdrawal Agreement were ratified. Which it hasn’t been, and the hypothetical third vote on it has not even been scheduled – if indeed it can be.
I had thought that the deadline for requesting an extension would be the European Council on Thursday and Friday of this week but every apparent deadline in the process so far has been missed. We could end up with an extension being decided in the evening of Friday next week, at which point it would only take one unforeseen event for everything to fall apart very fast.
It feels like a very long time since there was any certainty about the future, but we may yet look fondly back on this week, when we had a whole ten working days to go. I hope the Prime Minister remembers that the time of departure is midnight in Brussels, and that it’s an hour before midnight in London.